More suspects named in $5.4 mln graft at Vietnam fuel giant

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Work at an ethanol-blended gasoline plant operated by PVC-ME in Phu Tho Province has been delayed, allegedly due in part to grand embezzlement. Photo courtesy of PetroVietnam

Investigations into a US$5.43 million embezzlement case at a subsidiary of state fuel giant PetroVietnam have yielded 12 more suspects including the company's former executives.

Police at the Ministry of Public Security found that the 12, together with five others who had been named in September 2012 when the crime was discovered, had put nearly VND85 billion in payments from partners and customers off the books, withdrawing VND26 billion from the company’s fund and faking five contracts worth VND3.3 billion, all for personal use.

The alleged embezzlement began in November 2009 and had almost driven their company, Petroleum Mechanical Executing and Assembly Joint Stock Company (PVC-ME), to bankruptcy, investigators said.

Trinh Van Thao, former general director of the company who gave all orders, has been put under international warrant as he fled to the US before the investigation started.

Thao was then put under investigation with Bui Trong Chinh, the former chief accountant and general deputy director, Dinh Ba Luong, chief accountant, cashier Pham Thi Hai Ha, and Le Thai Nam, who was in charge of the construction site of an ethanol-blended gasoline plant of the company in Phu Tho Province outside Hanoi.

The new suspects, now prohibited from leaving their neighborhood, include Vu Duy Thanh, the former board chairman, Tran Xuan Tinh, former general deputy director, and their accountants, chiefs of business planning desks and the chief engineers of several oil refinery and thermopower projects; and directors of two machinery and construction companies Doan To Hung and Bui Tien Dung.

Thanh and Tinh are accused of "irresponsibility causing serious consequences" while the rest of "intentionally violating government’s regulations on economic management."

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